SPOILERS: through season three

NOTES: Thank you for all the reviews! And again, thank you, PurpleYin, for the beta! Please, no mention of season four spoilers in reviews.

DISCLAIMER: The 4400 and all things associated with it belong to other people.


DESK, EPILOG

As Tom had predicted, Diana got to spend all of Thanksgiving with Maia, though she was still in the hospital. It was nice. Not only did she get to relax in the guest lounge with Maia and April, she didn't have to shop, cook or clean. They watched a movie and played Monopoly. Maia won.

By Christmas, Diana was back at home with Maia in the apartment. It was a bit sad for Maia to go from three parents to one, but April, Tom and Marco made time to visit with Maia and to help Diana with her daughter's schedule. Her sister did the most, always willing to lend a sympathetic ear during the occasional bouts of depression Diana was still battling through. She hadn't felt so close to April since they were little. It was like a small yet invaluable blessing after a terrible storm.

Gradually, life began to get back to normal. In January, Diana returned to the virology lab and passed the field agent exams. After the truth had come out about Diana's resignation of her field agent status, Nina had told her the testing was unnecessary, but Diana had insisted. It was a way of proving to herself and her doctors that she was capable of doing it again. Marco had even convinced Nina to let him partner with Garrity so Diana and Tom could be partners, again. Garrity jokingly claimed his argument about wanting to maintain the advantage of being the prettiest partner had been the deciding factor in Nina's mind. Apparently he believed the prettier partner was less likely to get hurt. Marco contested that Garrity's girlfriend disliked the idea of him having a hot female partner.

Even though she had to wait a few weeks for the test results, life was looking up. Then Tom and Marco had a really bad day. She'd heard about what had happened from the head pathologist who was examining the suspect's body. Apparently they'd come across a 4400 who controlled fire and was a drug addict on a bad trip. The woman had already burned half a dozen other agents, and Marco had been forced to shoot her in order to save Tom.

After a quick visit to the medical lobby, Diana learned that Tom had been shipped to the burn ward of a nearby hospital and would likely not be allowed visitors for several days. Since she couldn't offer her support to Tom, her thoughts naturally shifted to Marco.

Despite having come to the understanding that she didn't need a romantic relationship in her life, Diana had never been able to completely shake the lingering feelings of longing she experienced when she saw Marco. April had gone so far as to suggest their relationship had come full circle--that he was the reluctant one, while she had become the quiet, persistent pursuer. With that in mind, Diana couldn't be sure of the virtue of her motives as she headed to the office Marco and Tom still shared, but her memories of how she'd felt the day she'd taken the life of Jean Baker drove her onward.

The office blinds were open, and she could see Marco hunched over his keyboard. She hesitated at the door, and when he didn't notice her, she cleared her throat. "Hell of a day."

He looked up, as though surprised to find someone in the office, in his space. Scanning her eyes, his brow furrowed in confusion, but all he said was, "Yeah." Turning back to his monitor, he removed his glasses and massaged his forehead then rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms. "Yeah."

Unsure, she stepped closer and rested a hand on his shoulder. His head shot up, and, for a brief moment, she saw the pain in his eyes before his gaze moved to his keyboard. He closed some files with one hand while distractedly returning his glasses to the bridge of his nose with the other.

"Wanna talk about it?"

Again, he gave her a confused look. Smiling grimly, he glanced away, tilting his head without moving his shoulder. "Tomorrow, I've got an appointment with a shrink for that."

Pulling her hand away, she sat on the edge of his desk. "I checked the records a long time ago--Dr. Dillon doesn't even have weapons training, and he's definitely never shot anyone."

That got her a hint of a genuine smile. "Yeah, I know; I was the one who dug up those files for you."

"I haven't forgotten."

Meeting her eyes, he seemed to really look at her for the first time since she'd walked in the room, his gaze clear of confusion and distraction. She could see it in his expression as he decided to quit guarding himself against her, of guarding her from himself. The honest need on his face caused her heart to ache and her pulse to speed up all at the same time. Pushing herself off his desk, she offered him a hand.

"Let me drive you home."

Briefly closing his eyes, misery washed over his face until he got himself under control. Opening his eyes, he took her hand and stood. "Okay."

It took every ounce of will not to pull him into a hug, no matter how much it looked like he could use one.

Not wanting to be alone, he asked to be taken to his sister's house. Along the way, he talked, and she listened, offering words of understanding when she could. It was such a small thing--driving and listening--yet she couldn't think of a time when she'd done anything more meaningful for him.

When they arrived, he didn't get out right away, as though his emotions were weighing him down. Giving in to impulse, she reached out and squeezed his nearest hand. "It'll get better."

He just kept staring out the window at his sister's front door, but he squeezed her hand in return. "Do you ever get over it?"

"No. But it gets better."

He turned to her, and she'd never seen him more vulnerable. "Yeah?"

"Yeah."

There was relief and hope and gratitude in his eyes. After giving her hand another squeeze, he let go and focused on unbuckling his seatbelt. Then he drew a deep breath and let it out slowly, reminding her of one of the exercises the doctors had taught her. "Thanks," he said at last, before opening the car door and stepping onto the driveway.

She'd been hoping to have a meaningful moment with him, something to set them on a smoother track than the one they'd managed so far. While this was hardly the ideal, it was a start, and it was only fair that some small good come of the day. She waited until he was greeted by his brother-in-law at the door and invited in with warm acceptance. Then she pulled out of the driveway and headed home, satisfied that everything would work out as is should in the end.